flydubai’s inaugural flight between Dubai and Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, touched down today, marking the innovative low-cost airline’s 15th passenger route in Central & Eastern Europe.
Flight, FZ791, departed Dubai Terminal 2 at 0915hrs today, landing at Skopje Alexander the Great Airport at 1240hrs local time where flydubai’s Chief Executive Officer, Ghaith Al Ghaith, was greeted by the Minister for Transport and Communication, Mile Janakieski, and the Chief Operating Officer of TAV Holding, Murat Ornekol. Following a water canon salute on touchdown, Al Ghaith participated in a traditional bread and salt reception before the delegation hosted a press conference at the airport terminal.
flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said: “More than 40 per cent of our route development this year has taken place in Central & Eastern Europe and with the addition of Skopje, we are connecting the UAE to another underserved market. This illustrates our commitment to this region, while also opening up opportunities for cooperation and collaboration with different nations.”
According to the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Trade, the volume of goods traded between the UAE and Macedonia increased by 80% in 2011 compared to the previous year, with textiles among its most in demand industries.
Mile Janakieski, Minister for Transport and Communication of the Republic of Macedonia, stated: “Low-cost airlines such as flydubai offer passengers affordable travel options and the regions in which they operate often experience rapid economic development. The inclusion of Skopje as a destination into flydubai’s network has great significance as these flights will not only connect Skopje to Dubai, but indirectly to more than 50 destinations around the world where the airline operates and beyond.”
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the total contribution of travel and tourism to Macedonia’s GDP is expected to rise by 5% a year over the next 10 years. Tourists are attracted to Macedonia’s history, rich culture and sights including the 1,500-year-old Kale Fortress in Skopje and Ohrid Lake in the south west of the country.
“The launch of flights between Skopje and Dubai will have a positive effect on the Macedonian diaspora living in Australia. The time on board and number of connecting flights to different airports will dramatically decrease and Macedonians living in Australia will be able to arrive in Skopje faster and easier. With this launch Macedonian citizens and those of neighbouring countries will be able to fly directly to the UAE from Skopje’s Alexander the Great Airport,” said Murat Ornekol, Chief Operating Officer of TAV Holding, the company that manages Macedonian airports.
Skopje is the second addition to flydubai’s CIS and Central & Eastern European network this month, following the start of flights to Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, on 1 October 2012. The airline now serves 15 destinations including: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and from today, the Republic of Macedonia.